The Story of Tilly Smith
What it Teaches Us About Preparedness
It was the day after Christmas. Boxing Day as they call it in England, where 10-year old Tilly Smith hailed from.
Tilly, along with her mom and dad, were spending the holiday on the beaches of Thailand.
As they were enjoying a day at the beach, Tilly noticed that the ocean was frothing and bubbling. The waves were coming in and going out far more than normal.
Then she remembered that these are signs of an earthquake offshore, which produce tsunamis. She learned this concept just two weeks prior in a geography lesson.
Tilly hysterically urged her parents to leave the beach, and they gave in, not really sure what was happening. Her parents alerted hotel staff, who cleared the beach upon confirming Tilly’s suspicion.
The Smiths were able to get to safety on the third story of their hotel, just before three successive waves of the tsunami hit.
The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake claimed the lives of more than 200,000 in 13 countries that year. The beach where the Smiths were vacationing was one of the few to report zero casualties.
Tilly’s story teaches us three important things about preparedness.
First, knowledge is the ultimate preparedness tool. Tilly knew the signs of a tsunami, and it saved lives. In her home country of England, tsunamis are not a very likely threat. But just as a Mid-westerner may not have to worry about hurricanes, knowing what to do if one strikes while on vacation could be critical.
Tilly showed us that this knowledge does not need to be Ph.D. level either. But, an elementary knowledge of the world we live in is crucial if we want to be able to "see the signs."
Second, it’s important to remember that the unexpected can strike anytime, even during joyous times like holidays.
As we travel to see loved ones for Christmas, go on vacation, or celebrate at home – it’s still important we’re vigilant and ready to jump into action. We’ve all worked hard to plan and prepare, but we should never let our guards down.
Finally, Tilly’s story teaches us to never take what we cherish most for granted.
The spirit of Christmas reminds us to exalt and embrace our family, faith, and freedom. Remember why we work so hard to plan, prepare, protect and provide. Thank God for his blessings, know we’ve done our best and leave the rest to him.
From our MPS family to yours, Merry Christmas!